“Lauren, what are you eating?” Alex asked , staring at Lauren’s lunch.
Lauren looked up, freezing with her fork halfway to her mouth. “Um, it’s sushi, Alex. Haven’t you seen sushi before? I mean, you are Asian.”
Alex rolled his eyes. “Of course I’ve seen sushi before. I love sushi.”
Lauren smirked, and Holly couldn’t help giggling.
“But,” Alex continued, pointing at the jumble of food in front of Lauren. “That is not sushi. That is a mess.”
Lauren scowled. “It fell apart before I got a chance to eat it, okay? You try keeping your sushi in your school lunchbag and avoiding a mess.”
Holly grinned. “She has a point there, Alex.”
Alex scoffed and focused his attention on his burger.
Holly jumped as an eerie, flat voice drifted over her shoulder, and she spun in her seat. “Rachel! Um, hi!”
Rachel just stood there, staring at Holly with those strange, misty eyes. “Holly Elizabeth.”
“Hey, Rachel, could you please not harass my sis? Thanks.” Lauren commented, pointing her rice-coated fork at Rachel.
Rachel continued to gaze at Holly, and the room suddenly felt very cold.
“The Gryphon is watching you, Holly Elizabeth.”
“God, what was up with Rachel? ‘The Grpyhon is watching you’? What the fudge does that mean?” Lauren ranted as they walked to class. Alex had gone in a different direction, as his class was in the opposite wing from the girls’, so it was just Holly and Lauren headed to the English class that they had together.
“I wish I knew.” Holly said quietly. “Maybe it’s just a thing for Theater class. Remember when she played her Juliet role for two whole weeks while Romeo and Juliet was going on? I was so sick of hearing her coo like a damn dove over her fictional Romeo.”
Lauren laughed. “Oh, man, that was funny. Jackson absolutely adored it, though. Of course, if I was him, I would have broken up with her right then and there as she was wailing about stars and shit.” The girls both laughed, and they were still chuckling as they entered their classroom. Mrs. Kimley smiled at them, and Holly waved. “Hi, Mrs. Kimley.”
“Hello, Holly, Lauren. Are you girls ready for some poetry? Today we’ll be discussing Sylvia Plath.”
Lauren groaned. “Isn’t that the suicidal chick? Ugh, that’s so depressing.”
Mrs. Kimley gave a small smile. “But her poetry was absolutely stunning.”
Holly grinned. “Well, I do love me some stunning poetry. Right, Lauren?”
Lauren shook her head. “You two are nuts.”
“So, can anyone tell me their interpretation of ‘Ariel’?” Mrs, Kimley asked the class ten minutes later. As one boy started spewing ideas that had nothing to do with Plath’s most famous poem, Holly noticed Mrs. Kimley touching a hand to her temple, and she thought she saw a flash of pain across the teacher’s face.
I am coming, Holly Elizabeth.
Holly yelped, nearly jumping out of her chair at the eerie whisper. At the same time, a bone-chilling breeze swept through the room. All of the lights blinked out, and Mrs. Kimley collapsed from her chair at the front of the room.
I am coming.
“Mrs. Kimley!” A skinny volleyball player by the name of Mallory Trent ran to the teacher’s side. She checked for a pulse and breathing, then turned and started yelling at other students to “Get a wet paper towel!” “Come here and lift her feet!” “Go get the nurse!”
The three targeted students scurried off to do as they were told.
Holly just sat and watched. Chills were dancing on her spine, freezing her in place.
I will see you soon, Holly Elizabeth. I am the One.